Singer claims he first 'felt the confidence' to leave 'N Sync after Jackson requested a duet with the pop star
Justin Timberlake has credited Michael Jackson with giving him the "idea" to mount his solo career, claiming a conversation regarding a collaboration with the singer was the first time he thought he could prosper outside 'N Sync.
The "seed" of Timberlake's solo career was apparently the single Gone, which Timberlake wrote around 2001. It was originally intended for Jackson. "[He] turned the song down," Timberlake recalled during a recent appearance on Oprah's Master Class.
But Jackson later got back in touch: "[He] called me on the phone and said that he wanted to cut the record, but he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I," Timberlake said. "And I said, 'Well ... we've already cut the song as an 'N Sync record. Could we do, like, ''N Sync featuring Michael Jackson', or 'Michael Jackson featuring 'N Sync'? And he was very absolute about the fact that he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I."
That discussion was "the first idea I ever got about doing something on my own", Timberlake revealed. "It was the first time I ever really felt the confidence to do it." Though Gone was released by 'N Sync - minus Jackson - on the boy band's final album, Timberlake put out his first solo LP about a year later, in November 2002.
However, Lance Bass, one of Timberlake's former 'N Sync bandmates, isn't so sure: "I would not blame [Justin's solo career] on Michael Jackson," Bass told Entertainment Tonight. "I always thought that it actually came from P Diddy." Bass described overhearing the rapper talking to Timberlake at one of 'N Sync's aftershow parties. "I heard [Diddy] say, 'Hey, you should go solo, you know, without the guys'. And I was like, 'Wait a minute, I'm sitting right here!'"
Justin Timberlake's most recent solo LPs, The 20/20 Experience parts one and two, reached No 1 and No 2, respectively, on the UK album charts.
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